17 per cent of those polled in the affected area oppose the project, while 13 per cent are opposed province-wide.
Community Relations Manager for the project David Conway says the results maintain there’s a good level of support for the project, but also give B.C. Hydro something to work on going forward.
“That tells us that we need to ensure that as we’re going through a joint environmental assessment process, at the end of it, the project needs to have received certification,” he says. “If that’s done, we also need to ensure that as we’re moving forward, we’re incorporating the concerns that we hear from the communities and the stakeholders as much as possible.”
Much of the support for the project hinges a few key factors. Between 83 and 89 per cent of people say they would be comfortable with the project if their views are taken into account, the project is approved by the independent review, and conservation efforts are made. Most people polled believe those conditions can and will be met.
Conway also found the awareness levels of the project interesting, as although at 78 per cent the awareness in the Peace Region is vastly, and understandably, higher than the province at 41 per cent, the support is virtually the same.
“What we found in the 2012 study when we had a closer look at it in fact, was that the more people were aware of the project – what it was and the specifics of it – the more inclined they were to support it.”
When asked for their opinion on different options to meet the province’s energy needs, 69 per cent said they would be in favour of adding a new hydroelectric dam, which has improved in the past two years, while 70 per cent support buying more power from independent producers. Less support is thrown towards other options, with 52 per cent behind building more natural gas fired power plants, 29 per cent in favour of using higher prices to promote conservation, and 17 per cent want to increase electricity imports.